WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Ball State drops loses third straight in MAC
Team still winless on road in conference following loss at Bowling Green
The defeats are beginning to form the base of a mountain that's virtually impossible to climb. The inconsistencies are becoming common.
Ball State's 61-46 loss to Bowling Green Saturday afternoon was another instance of the roller coaster type of season for the red and white.
Ball State dropped its third straight in Mid-American Conference play, leaving it in a state of desperation for a road victory against a conference opponent.
It looked promising for Ball State after leaping to a 14-5 run to open the game. The Cardinals played as if they were the preseason Mid-American Conference favorites.
Coach Kelly Packard felt her team played well in the first few minutes, but couldn't match up with the experience of the Falcons.
"We put together some good minutes, especially early in the game," Packard said. "We defended well, made them take some shots that are outside the normal flow of their offense."
The Cardinals defense was causing confusion for Bowling Green, but following a media timeout with 7:24 remaining in the first half, the Falcons went on a 7-0 run and switched from zone to man on defense.
The move paid off. The momentum shifted.
"It's tough against a really good team-a championship team-to put together the consistency that it takes to beat a team like that on their home court," Packard said. The difficulty with a team [that has] six or seven seniors is the consistency of your defensive effort."
Consequently, it was all for nothing. Bowling Green got off to a slow start. The Falcons accumulated eight turnovers within the game's first 10 minutes, compared to one for the Cardinals.
It took 8:47 for two-time MAC Player of the Year and senior guard/forward Lauren Prochaska to sink her first bucket. After draining the first one, Prochaska completely dominated. She was 7-of-14 from the field, 2-of-4 from beyond the arc and nailed all five of her free throws for a total of 21 points.
As Prochaska and the Falcons heated up, the Cardinals went ice cold. Ball State trailed 31-23 at halftime. As a team, the Cardinals were just 11-of-28 (39 percent) from the field and one of six from 3-point range.
Needing to come out strong in the second half, the Cardinals squandered the opportunity while one Falcon made history.
Prochaska's jumper with 16:39 to go in the second half was career point 2,123, making her the all-time leading scorer in Bowling Green history.
Packard said it's difficult for a player to accomplish what Prochaska has done.
"Those are phenomenal things for somebody," Packard said. "It's not often that you're the player of the year in your conference and then to repeat. She's going to be a strong contender for that this year."
The Cardinals offense was non-existent in the second half.
The Falcons held senior forward Emily Maggert scoreless in the second frame. Maggert's only points came via a 3-pointer in the first half. Fellow classmate guard Ty'Ronda Benning was held to just nine points on the afternoon.
Packard said the lack of production from her experienced players leaves the Cardinals in an uncomfortable position.
"Minus Ty'Ronda and Emily who have played a lot of minutes for us, we're extremely young," Packard said. "It takes a lot of training of the mental toughness-not just the skill sets and technical strategies-to grind out plays."